Animals still being rescued two weeks after Turkey earthquake

At least 45,000 people died and scores more were injured when a 7.8 magnitude quake struck on February 6. Turkey was hit by another 6.4 magnitude earthquake and a second measuring 5.8 on February 21.

Search and rescue missions for missing pets in the worst-hit region of Antakya continued this week.

Humane Society International (HSI) said teams have tended to injured or abandoned animals among collapsed buildings.

They have also discovered female dogs with puppies and rescued cats from high balconies.

Kelly Donithan, director of disaster response for HSI, said: “When you’re surrounded day after day by the utter devastation in Antakya, knowing how many people and animals have lost their lives, it’s easy to feel hopeless.

“But I’ve definitely found some hope in every dog, cat, litter of puppies, budgie, rooster and rabbit we’ve helped rescue.

“We’ve had quite a few tearful reunions now, and it makes me so happy to share those moments with the survivors here who despite losing so much, have at least been given something back that means so much to them.”

The animals found by HSI go to foster homes in the country with the hope they will be adopted if their owner has died.

There are still hopes that some pets will be reunited with their families, many of which have fled the region.

A dog called Dost that HSI rescued from a roof stayed in their camp whilst attempts were made to find his family.

He went to a foster shelter after those attempts failed but “remarkably” his family saw his photo on Facebook and came forward to claim him.

Ms Donithan said: “Being a part of these reunions is deeply moving.”

At least 1.5 million people are homeless one month after the largest earthquake struck, and it is unclear how long it will take to find them proper shelter.

The Turkish disaster agency Afad said almost two million people have now left the quake zone, with many people living with friends or loved ones elsewhere in the country.

More than 160,000 buildings collapsed or were badly damaged.

A cat trapped inside an apartment for more than two weeks was rescued when the military heard her desperate meows.

Fluffy, whose cream-grey coat lives up to her name, was saved when the military used a drone to look into the third-story window after the earthquake struck Turkey last month.

The cat, who was not microchipped, had impaired kidney function because of dehydration.

A spokeswoman for Humane Society International said: “She wasn’t microchipped but a Facebook search using the name spotted on the apartment revealed the owner who answered our calls and is thrilled the cat is safe.”

HSI had also featured Fluffy in a Facebook livestream in hopes that her owner would recognise her.

Nurse Rumeysa Gürbüz was injured in the Turkish earthquake and separated from her cat Leyla.

Rumeysa was evacuated to Istanbul after injuring her leg in the earthquake which struck last month.

She put a call out on Facebook to try to find her pet which was passed on to Humane Society International (HSI).

A spokeswoman for HSI said: “Her house had completely collapsed and on first search by HSI, there was no sign of Leyla.

“But Kelly Donithan, our team lead, asked the owner to send her a voice message calling Leyla’s name to help lure her out after dusk, and after a lot of patience, it worked!”

The team said there were “lots of happy purrs” from Leyla when she was safe.

Leyla was later reunited with her delighted owner who had a tearful reunion with Kelly too.

The rescue took place about an hour outside Antakya in a place called Iskenderun where Rumeysa worked at the hospital, which was destroyed.

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